Zuri the Rhodesian Ridgeback using the Pet Loader - Dog stairs steps
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Zuri the Rhodesian Ridgeback using the Pet Loader – Dog stairs steps

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Practicing using the Pet Loader. Jumping in and out of cars puts more stress on the joints than using low height stairs. As dogs age, reduced range of motion, muscle weakness and/or arthritis can make it harder to negotiate heights that used to be painless and easy. It’s actually a good idea to make entries and exits easier for healthy or young dogs as well: preventing excessive loading on joints may help avoid the early onset of joint problems and pain. I’m teaching Zuri to wait, instead of jumping straight out, so I can set up the steps for her to use. So easy to set up and then pack up. I’m going to teach her to use them, making it a fun game, so she defaults to using the steps instead of jumping. She’s been jumping in and out of the car for years, so even with steps in place, her first choice is still to jump. I also want using the steps to be so well conditioned that it is second nature when she has to renegotiate stairs with 3 legs. It’s going to be difficult enough for her on even ground at first. I will re-introduce the steps when she is physically ready: but she will already understand the concept, so retraining should be easier than if she’d never used the steps. The steps will be even more important to protect the remaining 3 legs from injury. They will all be taking more weight and stress. That’s the plan anyway 😊